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  • Editor's Note

    Lab tests aren’t the answer for every science question

    In the second half of the 17th century, the chemist and polymath Robert Boyle and philosopher Thomas Hobbes engaged in a divisive debate centered on a temperamental, mechanical contraption known as an air pump. In a series of famous experiments, Boyle used the air pump, which has been called “the cyclotron of its age,” to test basic scientific principles such as the relationship between a gas’...

    03/22/2017 - 12:15 Neuroscience, History of Science, Science & Society
  • Science Visualized

    Colorful pinwheel puts a new spin on mouse pregnancy

    View slideshow of other winners

    This rainbow pinwheel of mouse placentas isn’t just an eye-catching, award-winning image. The differences in color also provide researchers with new clues to how a mother’s immune system may affect her or her baby’s health during pregnancy. The work could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of preeclampsia, a common pregnancy complication. 

    ...

    03/22/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Immune Science, Science & Society
  • Reviews & Previews

    Shocking stories tell tale of London Zoo’s founding

    The ZooIsobel CharmanPegasus$27.95

    When Tommy the chimpanzee first came to London’s zoo in the fall of 1835, he was dressed in an old white shirt.

    Keepers gave him a new frock and a sailor hat and set him up in a cozy spot in the kitchen to weather the winter. Visitors flocked to get a look at the little ape roaming around the keepers’ lodge, curled up in the cook’s lap or tugging...

    03/20/2017 - 07:00 Animals, History of Science
  • News

    White House budget plan would slash science

    Huge cuts could be in store for federal science spending if President Donald Trump’s vision for fiscal year 2018 becomes reality.

    Although details are skimpy, Trump’s $1.15 trillion budget proposal, released March 16, would make national security the top priority. The budget blueprint calls for a $54 billion increase in defense spending for 2018, offset by an equally big reduction in...

    03/16/2017 - 17:52 Science & Society
  • Science Ticker

    Tropical bedbugs outclimb common bedbugs

    Some bedbugs are better climbers than others, and the bloodsuckers’ climbing prowess has practical implications.

    To detect and monitor bedbugs, people use an array of strategies from DIY setups to dogs. Pitfall traps, which rely on smooth inner walls to prevent escape, are highly effective for detecting and monitoring an infestation. The traps are sold around the world, but they have...

    03/15/2017 - 18:03 Animals, Science & Society
  • Science & the Public

    Online reviews can make over-the-counter drugs look way too effective

    Here’s one good reason why people often take medications and use health products that don’t live up to expectations or just don’t work — digital word of mouth.

    The reviews can be glowing. Take this scuttlebutt about a cholesterol treatment: “I have been using this product for 2 years. Within the first 3 – 4 months my cholesterol was down 30 points. Just got cholesterol tested last week:...

    03/14/2017 - 14:48 Science & Society, Psychology
  • Science Ticker

    Ancient dental plaque tells tales of Neandertal diet and disease

    Dental plaque preserved in fossilized teeth confirms that Neandertals were flexible eaters and may have self-medicated with an ancient equivalent of aspirin.

    DNA recovered from calcified plaque on teeth from four Neandertal individuals suggest that those from the grasslands around Beligum’s Spy cave ate woolly rhinoceros and wild sheep, while their counterparts from the forested El...

    03/08/2017 - 13:22 Archaeology, Microbiology, Evolution
  • News

    Ancient nomadic herders beat a path to the Silk Road

    Nomadic herders took the ancient Silk Road to new heights.

    Starting 4,000 years ago or more, Central Asian herders routinely migrated from highland pastures in summer to lowland areas in winter (SN: 5/3/14, p. 15). Over roughly the next 2,000 years, those routes through mountainous regions eventually became a key part of the Silk Road, an ancient trade and travel network stretching from...

    03/08/2017 - 13:00 Archaeology, Anthropology
  • Editor's Note

    Science journalists don’t use the science of ‘nudge’

    The “nudge” may have been formalized in a 2008 book, but I’d bet that the core concept — simple strategies for influencing other people’s decisions — dates back at least to the rise of human language. It wouldn’t surprise me if early hunter-gatherers on African savannas relied on some strategies of persuasion to convince, for example, other members of the group to help hunt for food. These...

    03/08/2017 - 12:21 Science & Society
  • Science & the Public

    Data-driven crime prediction fails to erase human bias

    Big data is everywhere these days and police departments are no exception. As law enforcement agencies are tasked with doing more with less, many are using predictive policing tools. These tools feed various data into algorithms to flag people likely to be involved with future crimes or to predict where crimes will occur.

    In the years since Time magazine named predictive policing as one...

    03/08/2017 - 10:00 Science & Society